Five barangays in Valenzuela City are undergoing disaster management trainings by a Netherlands-based alliance of humanitarian groups.
Among the most flood-prone in the city, the barangays of Balangkas, Coloong, Malanday, Tagalag and Wawang Pulo were selected in 2011 as areas of the Partners for Resilience (PfR) program, which aims to build among grassroots communities the capacity to respond to disasters.
In the Philippines, the beneficiaries of the program are 28 communities in Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and the Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela (CAMANAVA) area in the National Capital Region (NCR).
The five Valenzuela City barangays comprise the CAMANAVA project areas, along with the barangays of Potrero in Malabon and Catmon in Navotas.
Since the implementation of the program, the barangay disaster risk reduction and management councils (BDRRMC) of the project areas have learned to identify the elements that make their respective communities vulnerable to disasters and the ways to address them.
The vulnerability assessment would aid them draw their own contingency plans. On April 13, Malanday became the first to demonstrate its own through a drill that was participated in by around 1,100 residents.
Coloong followed suit and conducted its drill on July 6 with around 500 residents participating.
Rescue teams and barangays health workers have also participated in disaster response, public health emergency and first aid trainings.
Besides trainings, emergency kits were also provided for the beneficiaries. The PfR is also set to turn over on the last quarter of the year four rescue boats to the barangays, except Balangkas, which instead have asked for financial assistance for the building of an evacuation center.
From May to June, the five barangays made environmental-themed short documentaries for an awareness campaign. The documentaries are now being screened every Wednesday of July at the Valenzuela City Center for the Performing Arts.
The emergency kits the Valenzuela City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) gave all 33 barangays on April 2012 are based on PfR emergency kits.
The Partners for Resilience alliance is composed of The Netherlands Red Cross, Cordaid, CARE Netherlands, Wetlands International and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. The program is also currently being implemented in Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Nicaragua and Uganda.
By the program’s end in 2015, PfR Project Officer Maria Patronicia Lea Mateo said that it should have inspired among its beneficiaries the right approach to disaster is not quick response, but preparedness and mitigation.
“Ituturo namin sa kanila ang paraan, pero sila pa rin ang dapat gumanap. (We would teach communities how to manage disasters, but they would have to execute them themselves.)” Mateo ended.